Bearded Dragon Caresheet
Bearded Dragon Care
Young hatchlings can be kept in 10 – 20 gallon enclosures with a basking area set at one end. Use a light bulb or heat bulb to direct heat toward the basking area so the surface temperature stays between 105 and 110 degrees. Never use colored (red, green, etc) lights in your enclosure, especially at night! Bearded Dragons require a nighttime photoperiod of complete darkness, and colored lights are still visible to your dragon! A piece of driftwood or cork bark can be placed at an angle to allow the lizard to climb closer to, or further from, the light as needed to regulate body temperature. The cool side of the enclosure should not exceed 85F for any length of time. Nighttime temps can drop into the 60’s without worry, but warmer nights will make your dragon eat more and grow faster. WARNING: We advise against the use of electric “Hot Rocks” unless they are equipped with a temperature control device.
In addition to a heat source, Bearded Dragons also need exposure to light similar to that produced by the sun. We currently use the Reptisun 10.0 manufactured by ZOO MED. We have used these lights to breed several types of lizards, with excellent success, and we believe them to be the best lights available (for more see our notes on lighting). Use a bulb that extends the entire length of the enclosure, and make sure the lizards can climb to within 8″-12″. An appliance timer is recommended to ensure that the heat and lights are turning on and off at the same time each day. Of course, nothing can replace true sunlight and your lizard will benefit from any exposure to unfiltered sunlight, provided the temperature is within reason. When sunning your dragon outside, make sure to provide a shaded area for escape from the heat. WARNING: Never place a glass enclosure in direct sunlight, as the magnified heat will quickly cook your bearded dragon.
Hatchlings should be fed small (1/4″ or smaller) crickets every day for best growth. We grow our dragons to approximately 9″, and in this case, 1/2″ crickets are the right size. The general rule is: Crickets should be as long as the distance between the dragons eyes. Crickets should be dusted with a good calcium/vitamin D3 supplement every day. We prefer Calcium Plus, by Repashy Superfoods (see picture below). A small portion of various leafy greens is also recommended daily. Bearded Dragons will quickly learn to drink from a water dish – provide a shallow dish with 1/4″ – 1/2″ of clean water.
If two or more dragons are kept together, watch for individuals that become intimidated and don’t eat or bask as often as they should. If this happens, it’s best to move that lizard to a separate enclosure and allow it to gain weight before being reintroduced. Once the lizard has been observed eating and basking, and weight/size gain is obvious, he can be housed with others that are the same size.
Please Note: Once a dragon has been shipped, and received, we can not control the circumstances under which you are housing it, or if it is exposed to other dragons, unsanitary conditions, etc. Because of this, under no circumstance, can a dragon be returned for refund or exchanged for another dragon. Before you purchase a dragon, make sure that you want it!
Try to offer fresh leafy greens the first thing each morning. Crickets should be offered when the lizards have had a chance to warm up. For optimum growth, crickets can be offered again in the afternoon, but make sure that the lizards have at least 90 minutes to digest their last meal before the heat is turned off for the night.
Salad Mix: Try to use a variety of dark, leafy greens like collard greens, kale, mustard greens, turnip tops, arugula, dandelion greens, chard, etc. All greens should be pesticide free and chopped or torn into pieces small enough for the intended lizards. Be sure to remove any hard veins that may cause your lizard to choke.
***Remember to remove any fecal matter as soon as you see it, and any food or water dishes that have been contaminated by feces, and the chances of spreading disease are greatly reduced.
Here is a good example of how to house adult Bearded Dragons: There are 2 animals visible in this photo; one on the basking site (R) and another on the perch (L) directly beneath the UVB light. It is very important to make sure that your Bearded Dragon has access to a basking area that is 105 – 110 degrees F. It is equally important to provide exposure to UVB light. I recommend Zoo Med’s Reptisun 10.0 florescent tubes (in white fixture visible on top of cage) extending the full length of the enclosure. Make sure your dragons can get to within 8″-10″ of the UV tubes for best results